I know I said I’d make clam chowder since I now live in the Boston area, but the truth is, I don’t like clams. I love corn, though, and with it being corn season right now, what could be better than sweet, creamy, delicious corn chowder? As the weather cools, nothing is more satisfying than a big, warm bowl of soup. Feel free to double or even triple the recipe, since corn is so abundant right now, and freeze it in individual or family size servings to enjoy throughout the winter.
Here’s what you’ll need:
3 ears of corn
1 medium onion
2 large Yukon gold potatoes
2 large carrots
3 stalks of celery
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons of cream
The first thing we need to do is cut the corn off of the cob.
Can you use frozen corn? Um, no. Not if you want chowder with lots of great corn flavor. Now, I’ve seen a couple of tv chefs use a bundt pan for this task, claiming it’s this amazing secret that makes it so much easier because it catches all the corn. Me, I just use a plate. Do you get a few errant kernels? Sure, but certainly not enough to warrant washing a bundt pan. There’s always enough room to throw another plate into the dishwasher.
Once you’ve removed the kernels, place the corn cobs into a large pan.
Pour in 8 cups of water and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover it, and let it simmer for one hour. After that time, remove the cobs. You can scrape them with the back of your knife if you want to get even more goodness out of them. When all is said and done, you should have about 4 cups of golden, fragrant, corn stock.
If you haven’t done so yet, go ahead and chop your onion, carrot, and celery. I always use the leaves on celery, especially in soups. They impart so much flavor.
In a pan, (I just rinsed out the one I made the stock in) melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
When it’s hot and bubbly, pour in the vegetables. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and stir.
Cook them for about 5 minutes, continuing to stir, and add 3 minced cloves of garlic.
Stir and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. The onions should be nice and translucent, but nothing should be browning. Time for our fabulous stock.
Now, dice up 1 ½ potatoes. Peel or don’t peel, it’s up to you. I’m lazy, so I just leave the skin on. That’s why I buy the Yukon golds. I like to do mine fairly small so that they cook quickly and don’t take up too much room on the spoon.
Ok, so here’s my secret to thick, creamy chowder. Take the other half of that potato and grate it. Grating it allows it to completely break down as it cooks.
Throw all the potato into the pot and stir it in. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. You need to stir every 5 minutes or so, especially toward the end, or it will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. When the 30 minutes are up, the soup should be nice and thick and everything will be perfectly tender. Time to add the corn.
This is also a good time to sprinkle on some fresh cracked pepper. Stir it in and bring the soup just to a simmer, then cover it and remove it from the heat. Adding the corn at the end, allows it to stay slightly crisp and keeps it from getting tough and chewy. Leave it for 10 minutes and you’ve almost reached perfection. All that’s left now is the cream. It wouldn’t be chowder without it.
Stir it in and serve.
The soup has the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The corn is crisp and tender. And each bite will make you want to do a little dance.
What’s your favorite soup to make as we head into the cold months?